10 years ago today, Joern said his first words in person to me: "Hello. I hope you had a nice trip." And I then said my frist words to Joern in person, "Hi. I really need to go to bed."
It was a slightly crazy day, April 27, 2000. I had an early flight out of Dublin, and had some problems with the taxi I had ordered to take me to the airport. I ended up waiting at the airport for 2 hours, which at 5:00 am for a college student is absolutely unbearable! I arrived in Munich in the early afternoon to find not Joern, but his parents, Wolfgang and Hildegard, at the arrivals gate, with a sign, "Wellcome Alison." Although spelled a little off, I knew they were there to get me. Joern's parents were kind enough to take me to Munich center, to the Hofbrauhaus for lunch. Although Wolfgang doesn't speak much English, he was able to communicate that I should have a maß, or a liter of Hofbrauhaus beer. The liter of beer, accompanied by my sausage and sauerkraut platter, spelled trouble for me on the way back to Stuttgart. To add insult to my stomach, Wolfgang loved speeding through the streets of Munich, needing to jump on the brakes because the GPS could not keep up with him. It was on two hour trip back to Stuttgart, beer and sauerkraut in stomach, barreling down the autobahn at 125 mph and being jolted forward whenever we encountered a "linksfahrer," or slow guy in the left lane, that I first experienced car sickness.
I remember clearly pulling into their driveway, the very steep hill, and feeling of relief that the nightmare journey may be coming to an end. Joern came down the steps to meet me. And then, he introduced himself. And me, well, I was about two seconds away from an embarassing scene, with a green tinge to my face, had just enough in me to ask if I could go to bed. Our famous meeting scene.
I slept at least 5 hours, and woke up well past dark. As I made my way out to the bathroom, I said, "hi" again to Joern in passing, as he could see the hallway from his desk. When I came out, instead of heading back to bed, I decided to go talk to Joern for a while. I remember how easy he was to talk with, and how comfortable I felt with Joern. Joern had a box of chocolates on his desk, the funny thing is that Joern still loves those chocolates, and whenever he buys a box, I always think about me in my flannel pj's talking to Joern about colleges in America. We talked a really long time that night, and looking back on it, Joern had me hooked from that moment.
This was to be the beginning of a magical week, as we traveled to Lichtenstein Castle, Lake Constance,and of course Venice. It turned into the most magical 10 years of my life. Life with Joern has brought the most incredible experiences, and the most incredible love. We've grown up together, which is such an amazing thought. When I think back on the two kids we were 10 years ago, I laugh. I was afraid that we'd run out of things to talk about. Joern wanted to move to America.
Well, we still haven't run out of things to talk about, and so, we're living in Germany. I can't imagine life any other way!
Happy 10 years Joern! I can't wait to see what our next 10 years bring!